LOS ANGELES — Scientists on Tuesday prepared to send Curiosity on its first test drive over the billion-year-old rocks of Mars and said a busted wind sensor won’t jeopardize its mission of determining whether life could exist there.

Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena turned four of the rover’s six wheels in place this week in a successful “wheel wiggle” to test the steering for Wednesday’s trek, mission manager Mike Watkins said.

“We are go for our first drive tomorrow,” Watkins said.

The rover will move forward about 10 feet, turn right, then back up and park slightly to the left of its old spot, Watkins said.

“You will definitely see tracks,” he said.

The test drive is part of a health checkup the rover has been undergoing since arriving Aug. 5. Meanwhile, researchers discovered the damaged wind sensor while checking out instruments that Curiosity will use to check the Martian weather and soil.

The cause of the damage wasn’t known, but one possibility is that pebbles thrown up by Curiosity’s descent fell onto the sensor’s delicate, exposed circuit boards and broke some wires.